A littol Anglish
March 5, 2020:
It’s hard for me not to be competitive. Even if there is no reason to be. Sauntering down the winding path on the old grey mare sounds like a stress-free and joyful experience, but what happens if I come across an ornery cougar (could be that kind) or a hungry bear. I’m going to need particular skills to survive otherwise my journey, no matter how blissful and idyllic it may seem at the moment, could come to an untimely and grisly conclusion.
On the path that I am undertaking, it is of no consequence whether or not I attain any of the goals that I set forth for myself (it’s all good). The problem though, is that I’m still keeping score and my spirited nature, hardened by a lifetime of overcoming “No you can’t’s” and “Good luck with all that’s”, is now suddenly struggling to accept the philosophy of “Who fucking cares?”. Because, as it would seem, I still do.
I was built this way and not unlike my favorite movie icon Mr. Clint Eastwood (whom I’m sure you’re getting tired of hearing me quote, but god damn it he’s got some good quotes), when he said in Heartbreak Ridge; adapt, overcome, improvise!” that’s exactly what I’m aiming to do.
Now, pretend you’re an English detective. You’re in the sitting room of a stately manor with others, including of course the Lady of the estate, and the butler. Maybe they’re suspects, maybe not, but somebody bludgeoned the Lord of the manor to death last night in his study and it’s your job to solve the crime. Do you do it with a Canadian accent? Of course not. You bone up on your Cockney, dress appropriately British complete with English cap and a copy of the daily tucked under your arm and you say, “‘Ave yu gawht any Tea?” Possibly a good start to a decent audition. “Bawht is thaht suh-fish-uhnt?” Probably not.
As I’m learning through my Foundations class, it’s not enough to just say the lines. It’s quite possibly more important to understand why I’m saying them. This class is all about focusing on the tools that are needed to bring that specific authenticity to any character that I might be portraying. Like I said earlier, particular skills. So, I learn to walk in someone else’s shoes. Well no, not their actual shoes (I doubt that they would fit me anyway), but as a class we spend some time studying our partners gait and then learn to emulate it, and as is always the case afterwards, discuss.
From this we learn that people tend to harbor a sizable chunk of their stresses and tensions (both physical and mental) through posture and stride. By impersonating the way someone is walking and asking ourselves questions about how that person might have come to have this trait or that trait, or where they carry their inner chakras (uh huh), I might better be able to bring a certain genuineness to a character that I am portraying.
I have been watching a program lately which is focused on meditation and rewiring the brain synapsis’, another particular skill, so that I might better learn how to drop the dead weight of my past (conflicts that still haunt me) and the anxieties of predicting my future (the need to feel as though I have to achieve something), and focus primarily on living in the now. Essentially, becoming a blank canvas, a nobody, waiting to become the somebody of that day. Why not?
For this to happen though, there needs to be discipline and a belief that you can effect change within yourself, but how do you do this when you are told by the director that you are still being considered for the above mentioned short film and yet you see another casting call go out for the very same role that you are being considered for.
Those competitive chops spring out and you quickly realize that every audition is like a job interview and the employer is always on the lookout for someone better qualified than you for the opening. How can I not feel the anxious nature of that?
Okay, Breathe. Breathe in. Deeper. Feel the oxygen as it moves from your lungs, through your stomach, to the base of your spine and all the way up to the underside of your cranium. Aah, let the air stimulate your pineal gland. You are nobody. “There’s a good chap.”
Until next time.
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